David Cameron Accuses Michael Gove And Other Cabinet Brexiteers Of Lying About The EU

To 'con people into taking a leap in the dark'

07/06/2016 13:18 | Updated 07 June 2016

David Cameron has come his closest yet to calling 'Brexit' Cabinet ministers liars, as he sought to hit back at Vote Leave's "total untruths" about the EU.

In a hastily-arranged press event ahead of his appearance on the ITV's EU Special, the Prime Minister said that fellow ministers were trying to "con people into taking a leap in the dark".

He listed six "complete untruths" from the Brexit camp, ranging from claims that Britain would have to pay for future euro bailouts to losing its ability to veto a 'Euro Army'.

“It's irresponsible and it's wrong and it's time that the Leave campaign was called out on the nonsense that they are peddling."

And when put to him why lying ministers were still fit to be in his Cabinet, Cameron replied that most of the Leave camp "haven't been as intricately involved as I have" in negotiating a better deal for the UK in Brussels.

But the PM had to rebut journalists' claims that he appeared 'rattled' by the recent fightback from the Leave campaign highlighting the EU's growing control over British affairs.

With just 16 days left to the June 23 referendum, a rash of recent polls has found that the gap between 'Remain' and 'Leave' is narrowing, with some putting the Out camp ahead.

The Prime Minister tore up his recent "self-denying ordinance" on attacking fellow Tories, and instead hit out at Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and Boris Johnson.

Cameron singled out Justice Secretary Gove, who claimed yesterday that 'we have heard enough of experts', in response to the barrage of organisations warning of the economic cost of Brexit.

"Would you build a bridge or a house without advice from an expert?" Cameron asked, adding that the Leave camp reacted to independent warnings with "complacency and nonchalance".

Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson

Cameron said he'd decided to call the press event, on the roof of a building with a Westminster backdrop, after watching three big figures warn about Brexit on the TV news last night.

US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen warned of a downturn, the head of the World Trade Organisation predicted it would take 'decades' to sort a trade deal outside the EU and the boss of Hitachi said jobs would be hit.

However, the PM's calculation may well have been more about media manipulation, as No.10 is keen to get its economic message out ahead of tonight's ITV programme, when Nigel Farage stars for the Leave camp.

As well as hitting the lunchtime and early evening bulletins, the PM's rebuttal meant he gave newspapers an early story without having to wait for his appearance - which comes after Farage at 9.30pm.

The Remain camp put out a hard-hitting video early on Tuesday, listing all of the UKIP leader's previous controversial remarks about race and migrants.

And with the deadline for registration closing at midnight, he urged people to sign up to guarantee their vote.

“It matters for your job, it matters for the prices that you pay in the supermarket each week, it matters for the mortgage you pay or your chances for getting on the housing ladder, it matters for your pension, it matters for the price of your family holiday, it matters for the money that we have available to spend on your local hospital or your local school.

“And it matters for your children and your grandchildren, the kind of opportunities that they will have and the kind of country that they will grow up in."

Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

 In a joint statement Boris Johnson and Michael Gove hit back at the PM, challenging him to debate one of them.

"We think that the public deserve the chance to hear these issues debated face-to-face between the Prime Minister and a spokesman for Vote Leave so they can judge for themselves which is the safer choice on 23 June," their statement said.

"The Prime Minister was absolutely right to hold this vote and allow Ministers the chance to disagree with him. We hope that in the same spirit he will accept this invitation."

UKIP MP and Vote Leave campaigner Douglas Carswell said: "The In campaign is in a blind panic. David Cameron’s renegotiation was a failure."

Also on HuffPost

Suggest a correction